Medication, cough drops, and University Heath Services are a student's best friend during flu season. Photo by Megumi Gomyo.
As the spring semester begins, more and more faculty and students catch the flu. Classrooms, lecture halls and cramped hallways lead to higher risks of contagion. Sharing close personal spaces with sick roommates spreads the flu quickly. Unfortunately, many students are coming down with the illness.
The flu season lasts through the fall and winter months, stretching as late as May. This year, the flu has continued to worsen.
“If class attendance is required, [the student] should go, but there should be exceptions,” says senior computer engineering major Michael Daugherty. “Contact your professor and ask for an alternative so you don’t have to come in. Make the effort to find some other way around it.”
Some professors enforce strict attendance policies. If a student misses three classes, they fail the course. Many bedridden students have to deal with the risk of failing a class or returning to a pile of homework. Daugherty says, “I knew a few students who still came to class unless it was critical.”
Edward Hanson, a junior computer engineering major, advises students to, “take measures to feel better and get better. School is a big priority, but don’t force yourself to get to class when you’re sick.”
There are actions one can take to prevent getting the flu. The Centers for Disease Control recommends avoiding contact with sick people, washing hands and avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth. Even with these precautions, getting the flu might be inevitable.
“You don’t want to spread germs,” freshman computer science major Brady Ronayne says. “In lecture halls, there’s a lot of people. Even if you try to protect yourself from the flu, it’s gonna be hard.”
Students worry about the impact of the flu on their grades. Some will go to extreme lengths to make sure they do not miss class. They might wear surgical masks to reduce contamination of airborne disease. Nonetheless, the best way to avoid sickness is to maintain good hygiene.
University Health Services encourages students to get their flu shots. It is never too late to be vaccinated. Their office is located at Erickson Hall and is open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
“I would tell them to relax, stay in bed and have someone nearby to help,” says Ronayne. “If you have the flu for multiple days, email the professor or ask a friend to take notes. It’s gonna have some negative impact on your grades.”
It is difficult to fight the flu and keep up with classwork. There is always a chance that one’s grades will suffer. Clearly, students are struggling with maintaining a balance between health and class attendance. It is always better to reduce the spread of germs by taking a few days off and focusing on getting well. Professors generally understand when students take a day or two off.
“I would stay at home if it was contagious or if it caused me to be bedridden,” says Hanson.